Corleone crime family
Don Vito Corleone.
|In:||New York, Las Vegas, Reno, Miami|
|Founded by:||Vito Corleone, Peter Clemenza, Salvatore Tessio|
|Territory:||Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn|
|Membership:||200-250 made members|
|Criminal activities:||(labor) racketeering, conspiracy, illegal gambling, drug trafficking, bribery, extortion, contract killing, counterfeiting, fencing, hijacking, political corruption, loan sharking, money laundering, murder, fraud, prostitution|
|Allies:||Tommasino, Zaluchi, Molinari, Bocchicchio, Roth syndicate|
|Rivals:||Barzini family, Tattaglia family|
The Corleone crime family is one of the Five Families operating in New York and in other parts of the United States. The family was formed by Vito Corleone, Peter Clemenza and Salvatore Tessio, who fronted their operations by starting the Genco Olive Oil Company.
The family traces its roots to 1920, when Vito Corleone assassinated Little Italy's padrone, Don Fanucci, and took over Fanucci's territory along with fellow hoodlums Genco Abbandando, Peter Clemenza and Salvatore Tessio. Shortly afterward, he founded the Genco Pura Olive Oil Company as a front for his criminal activities. Around 1925, Vito formally organized the family, with Genco as his consigliere and Peter and Sal as caporegimes. They became the most powerful crime family in New York after defeating Salvatore Maranzano during the Olive Oil War in the early 1930s. It was during this time that Vito's eldest son, Sonny, made his reputation and eventually became a capo himself. The family were instrumental in establishing the Commission in 1934.
The Sollozzo Plot
In 1945, a business proposition from drug kingpin Virgil Sollozzo nearly destroyed the family, hospitalising Don Vito and forcing his eldest son Sonny in action. The situation further escalated when the youngest Corleone brother Michael killed Sollozzo and his bodyguard, Captain McCluskey, forcing him to flee to Sicily. This event triggered the Five Families War. The war claimed the life of acting don Sonny, and the still weak Don Vito sued for peace with the other families, realising that his true enemy was Emilio Barzini, who was attempting to crush the Corleones and become the most powerful don in New York.
After Don Vito's retirement, followed by his death from a heart attack in 1955, the family business was taken over by Michael, who exacted vengeance on the rival family's dons along with Moe Greene, Carlo Rizzi and Sal Tessio for conspiring with the rival heads. After this, Michael moved the family to Las Vegas, Nevada. Michael was attempting to make his business legitimate, but was drawn back into crime after a failed attempt on his life by Miami gangster and old friend and business partner of the Corleone family, Hyman Roth, who was attempting to stop the takeover of Las Vegas. This action resulted in Roth's death as well as the death of Michael's older brother Fredo, who had unwittingly conspired against the Corleones.
By 1979, the Corleone family was almost completely legitimate. Michael sold his interests in all casinos and hotels and was trying to purchase a controlling interest in Immobiliare from the Vatican. However, Joey Zasa, who was awarded the Corleone family business in New York, conspired with aging Don Altobello, and together orchestrated an assassination attempt on Michael in Atlantic City. Shortly after, Joey Zasa was killed by Michael's nephew Vincent Mancini. In 1980, Michael appointed Vincent to be his successor as the Don and head of the Corleone family, allowing him to change his name to Vincent Corleone.
Vito Corleone's family structure (1945-1955)
|Don Vito Corleone||
Michael Corleone's family structure (1955-1959)
|Don Michael Corleone||
Corleone family structure (1979-1980)
|Don Michael Corleone||
|Don Vincent Mancini||
- 1920-1954 — Vito Corleone
- Acting 1945-1948 — Santino Corleone
- Acting 1954-1955 — Michael Corleone
- 1955-1980 — Michael Corleone
- Acting 1958-1959 — Tom Hagen
- Acting 1975-1979 — Joey Zasa
- 1980-Unknown — Vincent Mancini
- 1975-1979 — Joey Zasa
- 1940-1948 — Santino Corleone
- Acting 1948-1952 — Peter Clemenza
- 1952-1954 — Michael Corleone
- 1955-1959 — Fredo Corleone
- 1959-1980 — Albert Neri
- 1925-1945 — Genco Abbandando
- 1945-1954, 1959-197? — Tom Hagen
- 1954-1955 — Vito Corleone
- 1956-1957 — Peter Clemenza
- 1979-1980 — Connie Corleone (informal)
- 1920s-1958 — Peter Clemenza
- 1958-1959 — Frank Pentangeli
- 1959-1970s — Richard Nobilio
- 1970s-1975 — Joey Zasa
Miami faction (informal)
- 1930s-1959 — Johnny Ola
Sicilian faction (informal)
Corleone family tree
- 1 Antonio Andolini
- + Signora
- 2 Paolo Andolini
- 2 Vito Andolini (Corleone)
- + Carmela
- 3 Santino ("Sonny") Corleone
- 3 Frederico ("Fredo") Corleone
- 3 Michael Corleone
- 3 Constanzia ("Connie") Corleone
After Michael made the move to Nevada, Peter Clemenza and Salvatore Tessio were allowed to form their own families. However, when Tessio's plot with Barzini to assasinate Michael was uncovered, he was killed. As a result of this, Clemenza took over the Corleone family in New York. When Clemenza died of a supposed heart attack in 1958 he was succeeded by Frank Pentangeli. At this time, the Rosato Brothers formed a rogue faction, secretely backed by Hyman Roth in an attempt to stop Michael's take-over in Las Vegas. This conflict would eventually lead to the demise of both Pentangeli and Roth.
Compared with the real Five Families the Corleone family draws comparisons to the Genovese and Bonanno families. The forerunners of the Genovese family came from the village of Corleone. The Genovese family has also long been considered to be New York's most powerful crime family and they have a strong presence in areas such as The Bronx. The Brooklyn based Bonanno family inherited a large part of the Maranzano organization and expanded their interests to other parts of the United States, notably Arizona. Both families were also involved in gambling in New York, Cuba and Las Vegas.
Behind the scenes
Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo had envisioned The Godfather IV, which would be about the ending of the Corleone family and the death of Vincenzo Mancini-Corleone, as he lead the family into drug dealing and eventually bringing about the family's demise.
- The real life Corleonesi became the most powerful Sicilian crime group after fighting a bloody mafia war against their rivals in the early 1980s.
Notes and references